Extreme Sports

Track and field isn’t an extreme sport like base jumping, kite boarding or mountain climbing. This week, however, I was in a world of extremes.

In one week I went from Florida heat that reached 105 degrees, to Park City Utah, where we ran in long sleeves and 49 degree temperatures. From sea level to an altitude of 7000 feet. From sprinters to distance runners.

The common theme amongst these athletes is that they push their bodies to extremes. They all push themselves continuously in the pursuit of athletic performance. Sprinters are always on the verge of tearing their bodies up as they explode out of the blocks and go as hard as they can. All this physicality for an opportunity to compete again later in the day or a few days later in the finals. The distance runners log hours of running in a week. They vary the intensity of workouts, trying to maximize their strength with every repetitive step. These athletes ask their bodies to tolerate 60, 80 or even 100 miles per week in preparation for races measured in minutes.

Emily Infeld and Shelby Houlihan doing repeat 400s on the track at the University of Utah

Emily Infeld and Shelby Houlihan doing repeat 400s on the track at the University of Utah

This is the end of my season and the most important part of theirs. I am finished helping them get ready for the USA Olympic Trials in early July. They are about to embark on the most important races of the year. If they can make the USA Track and Field team in July, they have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal in early August. I do my job in relative anonymity, they do their job on a world stage for all to see.

When people ask what I do for a living it can be hard to describe. It’s easy to say that I’m a physician and leave it at that, but caring for athletes is what I do. It’s what I love to do. My job is not just seeing athletes when they are injured or ill but trying to help them maintain their health in the pursuit of performance.

Members of the Bowerman Track team do a work out on the track at the University of Utah Matt Hughes (Canada), Mo Ahmed (Canada), Chris Derrick, Ryan Hill, Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Andy Bayer, Dan Huling, German Fernandez

Members of the Bowerman Track team do a work out on the track at the University of Utah
Matt Hughes (Canada), Mo Ahmed (Canada), Chris Derrick, Ryan Hill, Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Andy Bayer, Dan Huling, German Fernandez

I am blessed to work with some of the greatest athletes in the world. When I see them and especially when I leave I always wish them the best and tell them that I will be watching. Please follow them, reach out to them and tell them you will be watching, too.

 

From Florida this past week

Candyce McGrone | Alexis Love | Isiah Young | Justin Walker | Jeff Demps |

Kaylin Whitney | Justin Gatlin

 

From Utah representing the Bowerman Track Club

Emily Infeld | Colleen Quigley | Shelby Houlihan | Chris Derrick | Andy Bayer

German Fernandez | Ryan Hill | Evan Jager | Dan Huling | Lopez Lomong

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